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If you remember, we had taken to napping in the morning and then spending more time sightseeing the day after we arrived in a town. This almost got us into trouble with the Blarney Castle.
We got there about an hour or so before closing. The fellow at the ticket gate said if we ran we may just have time to climb all 127 narrow steps to the top of the castle and kiss the stone.
We rushed through the grounds of the castle and quickly started climbing. You know when you see a movie set in an old castle, and it has that tiny, stone, spiraling servants stairwell? That’s what this staircase is. Straight up.
Now, I’m reasonably OK with heights as long as the thing I’m standing on is solid. Questionable edges to cliffs, the St. Louis Arch (It sways, and if you’re standing in the middle you can’t see what’s supporting you.), hot air balloons . . . those things kind of unnerve me as there’s nothing underneath you.
So I wasn’t too thrilled as these stairs were so tiny half your foot hangs off of the back. They’re ancient and smooth, and you’re in a tiny, tiny stone space that almost essentially goes straight up.
If you’re not in a rush, you can wander into other rooms of the castle and explore, breaking up the time spent in that tiny space, but we went straight up all 127 steps. I’m not going to lie; I was quite relieved when we made it to the top.
To kiss the stone you sit down with your back to the stone and your legs out straight. The castle employee holds your legs, and you bend backward into a hole in the castle wall and kiss the stone.
Originally, the Fellow said he had no interest in actually kissing the stone, but since the cost of admission to the grounds included the stone, he went ahead and kissed it.
We were doing better on time than we (or the ticket man) had thought, so after we kissed the stone we wandered through the castle and the castle grounds (including the poison garden!) a bit before they closed.
Then we headed on to The Great Southern Hotel in Killarney.